John Sununu, Top Romney Surrogate, Suggests Colin Powell Obama Endorsement Motivated By Race [UPDATE] Top Romney surrogate John Sununu suggested Thursday night that Colin Powell endorsed President Barack Obama in part because the two men are the same race. Sununu, who served as governor of New Hampshire from 1983 to 1989, made the comment during an appearance on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight." Morgan asked Sununu whether Powell's endorsement of Obama, after having also thrown his support behind the president in 2008, meant the former four-star general should end his membership in the Republican Party. The exchange that followed: Sununu: Well, I'm not sure how important that is. This isn't the first time Powell has been accused of an endorsement based on race. The former general announced his endorsement Thursday on CBS' "This Morning," praising Obama's leadership under difficult circumstances, while at the same time criticizing Mitt Romney's domestic and foreign policy plans. UPDATE: Hours after the CNN interview, John Sununu issued a statement about his earlier comments, Politico reported.
Is the Rising Democratic Majority Doomed? -- NYMag The slow, increasingly Democratic cast of the American electorate would seem to be a cardinal fact of American politics. The electorate is firmly polarized, with few voters actually liable to change their minds. The proportion of nonwhite voters has risen by about two percentage points every four years, a rate that seems likely to persist indefinitely as the population grows steadily more diverse. The youngest voting cohort has decidedly more liberal views, and more Democratic voting habits, than its elders, and partisan loyalty tends to stick throughout a voter’s lifetime. And yet the phenomenon continues to be met with an unduly wide, deep array of skepticism. When Ruy Teixeira and John Judis wrote The Emerging Democratic Majority a dozen years ago, few of us placed much credence in their then-wild-sounding prediction. Objection: The growth of the Latino vote might stop (Sean Trende). Result: Nope, the Latino vote has continued to rise.
Rand Paul Was Right About GOP Vote Suppression -- NYMag Last week, Rand Paul edgily, and correctly, urged his fellow Republicans to make peace with African-Americans by maybe not trying so hard to prevent them from voting. Yesterday, Paul’s senior adviser, Paul Doug Stafford, explained what Paul really meant. And what he really meant was … well, not very much: “In the course of that discussion, he reiterated a point he has made before that while there may be some instances of voter fraud, it should not be a defining issue of the Republican Party, as it is an issue that is perhaps perceived in a way it is not intended,” Stafford said in a statement Monday. “In terms of the specifics of voter ID laws, Senator Paul believes it's up to each state to decide that type of issue.” Voting is already handled at the state level. As a political instinct, Paul’s original, pre-walkback line was probably shrewd. The political logic of constructing impediments to voting appears perfectly sound. Paul’s original point got at the dilemma in a different way.
College Students Claim Voter ID Laws Discriminate Based on Age Photo WASHINGTON — Civil rights groups have spent a decade fighting requirements that voters show photo identification, arguing that this discriminates against African-Americans, Hispanics and the poor. This week in a North Carolina courtroom, another group will make its case that such laws are discriminatory: college students. Joining a challenge to a state law alongside the N.A.A.C.P., the American Civil Liberties Union and the Justice Department, lawyers for seven college students and three voter-registration advocates are making the novel constitutional argument that the law violates the 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age to 18 from 21. The amendment also declares that the right to vote “shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of age.” There has never been a case like it, and if the students succeed, it will open another front in what has become a highly partisan battle over voting rights. In Texas, voters must show a photo ID. Mr.
After The Midterms, The Diversity Gap In The House Will Be Wider Than Ever Last week BuzzFeed reported that backers of Rep. Steve Southerland had thrown the Florida Republican a men-only fundraiser earlier this year. The invitation came complete with instructions that attendees should “tell the missus not to wait up” because “the after dinner whiskey and cigars will be smooth and the issues to discuss are many.” Southerland, who is locked in a tight race against a female Democrat, is one of just a few endangered House Republicans in 2014 and has mostly himself to blame for his predicament. In the short term, Republicans are a lock to keep the House. Today, 89 percent of House Republicans are white men, compared to just 47 percent of House Democrats. On Election Night in 2012, when it was clear Republicans would comfortably hold onto the House despite winning 1.4 million fewer votes than Democrats in House races, Democrats took pride in a different statistic: For the first time ever, women and minorities would compose a majority — 53 percent — of their caucus.
Who’s Missing From the Midterm Elections? October is to political prognosticators what February is to florists and April is to accountants; namely, the time when a profession that’s peripheral to our daily concerns momentarily becomes the center of our attention. This season’s forecasting for the midterm elections is largely occupied with the partisan balance of the Senate. (The Times’ Upshot column has it seventy-one per cent likely that the Republicans will gain control. FiveThirtyEight puts the G.O.P.’s odds at sixty-one per cent.) This kind of imbalance is not limited to the upper chamber of the legislative branch. There is something distasteful about the idea of measuring politics in terms of percentages. The fact that underrepresented groups can vote, and do so in substantial numbers (black women had the highest voter turnout of any segment in the country in 2008 and 2012), begs a question: Why aren’t there more such candidates? Moreover, voters don’t necessarily form neat blocs, according to their race or gender.
North Carolina’s Voting Law Goes on Trial It would have been bad enough if the North Carolina Legislature, in a misguided effort to streamline voting procedures, had passed a law that ended up having discriminatory effects. But what happened was far worse than that. The state’s Republican lawmakers, in passing H.B. 589 in 2013, actually repealed a series of smart and successful voting-rights measures that were enacted over the last 15 years to expand North Carolinians’ access to the most fundamental of all American rights. Voter ID Laws, Legacy of Segregation Still Affect Alabama Earlier this month, when the Center for American Progress Action Fund think tank released a state-by-state assessment of democracy, which looked at citizens' access to the polls, legislative representation and political influence, most observers weren't surprised that the Deep South ended up on the bottom rung. The seven-state region that seceded from the Union and formed the heart of the Confederacy was under federal occupation for about a decade after the Civil War, and in the post-Reconstruction, Jim Crow-era laws kept African-Americans from the polls – through lynchings and Klan terrorism if necessary. The South saw more bloodshed when, against armed white resistance, activists tried to register black voters during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. And, from 1965 until last summer, several states in Dixie essentially had to ask permission from the Justice Department before making any substantial changes to its voting laws. [MORE: Voting Rights Stirs Up 2016 Candidates]
How Supreme Court Decision on Voting Rights Act is Affecting State Laws This post has been updated. It was originally published Nov. 1, 2013. As voters head to the polls this November, citizens in more than a dozen states will face shifting voter policies in wake of the Supreme Court's 2013 decision weakening protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Several states — such as Texas, North Carolina and Ohio — are facing legal challenges to new restrictions around voter ID, early voting or same-day registration. Meanwhile, some have moved to loosen voter restrictions. With the midterms approaching, here's an updated look at the state of voting rights around the country. Remind me – what is Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act? Under the Voting Rights Act, states and localities with a history of racial discrimination needed to get permission from the federal government to enact any changes to their voting laws, in a process called “preclearance.” What did the Supreme Court rule in Shelby County v. From the decision: Why does this matter? States to watch: v WISCONSIN
Why the Voting Rights Act Is Once Again Under Threat Photo IN his opinion for the majority in the Supreme Court’s 2013 Shelby County decision, which struck down a major section of the Voting Rights Act, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote that “history did not end in 1965.” But the sad truth is that voter-suppression efforts did not end, either. In 2014, the first post-Shelby election, thousands were turned away by new restrictions in states like Texas and North Carolina. This could be a disturbing preview for 2016, which will be the first presidential contest in 50 years where voters cannot rely on the full protections of the act. The act, signed 50 years ago today, was the crowning achievement of the civil rights movement. The backlash to the law was as immediate as its progress. The battle soon shifted from registration to representation, from the right to vote to the value of that vote. But as the reach of the law expanded, so did the opposition to it. Then came Shelby County. What can be done? Continue reading the main story
Why I Outed Gay Republicans In July of 2004, as 11 anti-gay marriage ballot campaigns competed for conservative attention at the polls, I started BlogActive, a site dedicated to exposing anti-gay politicians who were themselves having secret sexual encounters with other men. For years, I had known of prominent gay politicians who were in the closet but worked for homophobic causes in the interest, it seemed to me, of their political careers. And so, drawing on sources within and outside Washington, I began using my blog to expose these congressmen and their high-profile staffers. A media frenzy ensued. Within two days of the site’s launch, the Washington Post published one article; another followed just six days later. Local and national television outlets called, challenging me to defend and explain my actions. Story Continued Below I agreed, I said. Think back to 2004. Karl Rove, George W. One of the first reports I did once the site launched was about a senior staffer to Sen.